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    Frugal Moment: Baby Announcements

    November 25, 2006 by Brandy Vencel

    Baby announcements are a cost that seems to be embedded in having a child. Society expects parents to send them out, and parents expect them to be nice–sometimes, too nice, considering the effect of the cost on the family budget. Let me start out by saying that if a family doesn’t really have the money, they should probably consider either not sending an announcement, or designing a very nice email that is of a high enough quality that grandparents are able to print it out as a keepsake.

    With that said, unless one is content with a very simple, fill-in-the-blank format for announcements, it is often much cheaper to make the announcements oneself. In fact, I have been able to make them so cheap in the past that they were cheaper than a lot of the fill-in-the-blank sets I’ve seen at Target.

    Let me share what I have done for our previous children, and what I have in the works for this new little one.

     

    Baby Number One

    Overall, this is when we had the least amount of funds available. So, we printed out postcards instead of cards that would be placed in envelopes. The biggest cost for birth announcements is the postage. Using postcards cuts the postage significantly, especially if a family is like ours and sending out between 80 and 90 announcements.

    Even though there is limited space on a postcard, I wanted them to be as nice as possible. At that time, Si was working at an ad agency and had access to a lot of fancy design programs {this was before Apple made design software accessible to the average person}. We took our best newborn photo and scanned it {obviously, this was also before the proliferation of digital photography}. Si made it look nice, and added our son’s name in an attractive font. This served as the front of the postcard.

    The back of the postcard had a space for the address on the right, and the wording for a typical announcement on the left, with enough space saved at the bottom for us to inscribe a personal note if we wished.

    We did not have a quality color printer at this time, but we wanted the photo to be in color, and my old workplace gave us a great deal on printing. Because many of our friends were still in school, we were able to deliver some of the announcements postage-free by driving them to the campus and placing them in the campus mailboxes. As long as one isn’t using too much gas, hand-delivery can help avoid postage cost. If hand-delivery is a necessity, I would suggest delivering them in bulk whenever possible {i.e., taking a huge stack to church, rather than taking them door-to-door to individual friends and family from church}. This saves time and money. Time is precious with a newborn.

     

    Baby Number Two

    Money wasn’t as much of an issue when we had A., but I like really pretty and unique announcements, and those are costly. Too costly for us. This time around, we had a home office, so scanners, printers, and software were all close at hand. I purchased some card paper at an office supply store {on sale, by the way}. I ordered my stamps online, because the $1.00 delivery fee is less than it costs me in gas to get to the “local” post office. Lastly, I purchased some simple foam craft products from our local craft shop.

    This announcement was fun to make, and Grace even drove up to help me assemble them. {By the way, announcements can be designed before Baby’s birth, with only the unknown information left to be plugged in to the template after the Big Day. Also, envelopes can be addressed beforehand. All of this will save time when one is sleep-deprived and very busy.} First, the cards were printed in black-and-white. I didn’t want to pay to print in color, and thought the foam accents would add enough color. The front had a beautiful photo of our daughter, and the inside had the traditional announcement portion. We used Poor Richard font for the majority, but I added a beautiful script for our daughter’s name to give it some flare. I found that font online for free.

    Grace and I cut a sheet of foam into skinny strips to glue as a frame around the photo on the front, and then added foamy flower stickers in the corners of the frame. They came out very cute, if I do say so myself.

     

    Baby Number Three

    I designed this third announcement this week. I used the Common Room’s what do I have in my hand principle. I have a printer and software. I have ink. My husband has been looking for a job, so I have plenty of cardstock that he has been using for resumes. I have a fancy cutting tool for my scrapbooking hobby.

    I, again, ordered my postage online, for the same reasons I already listed. This year, since Baby Q. is being born so close to the end of the year, we wanted to add in an annual letter. We always love receiving annual letters from others, and we have never sent one ourselves. This was a great opportunity to combine the postage. Of course, the shape and size of cards I used for Number Two would not work with an annual letter. So, I designed announcements that use two-thirds a sheet of cardstock, and use my fancy cutting tools to slice off that last third, making the card an attractive tall and skinny shape that will fit perfectly in a standard business-sized envelope. Standard envelopes are cheap, which is an added bonus.

    I am printing a bit of color this time, but only a bit so that I don’t use too much expensive color ink. I love newborn photos, so we will have one on the front again this time, along with a verse that happened to fit the meaning of our daughter’s name perfectly. The inside announcement portion is formatted remarkably like last time because I like the fonts so much. So far, it looks like all I will need to purchase are the stamps and envelopes since we have all the other supplies on hand here at home.

     

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